Catwoman #21 Review

Catwoman #21 Review

Catwoman #21 Cover

Joelle Jones run on Catwoman has reached its end. As Jones is concluding her run on Catwoman it is only appropriate to wrap things up with the whole crisis that Raina Creel has created in Villa Hermosa. As things stand it looks like it’ll be tough for Catwoman as she faces off against the zombie apocalypse created by Raina Creel. It’s a good thing that Selina Kyle regained her edge in Catwoman #20 in order to combat this crisis head on. Let’s find out how things wrap up for Joelle Jones run with Catwoman #21.

Writer: Joelle Jones

Artist: Fernando Blanco

Colorist: FCO Plascencia

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: As she prepares to enter the Creel Mansion Catwoman reflects on how she hasn’t been able to sleep for several months.

Catwoman #21 Zombie Horde
Catwoman takes on a zombie horde in Catwoman #21. Click for full-page view.

Meanwhile at a hospital in Villa Hermosa, Carlos Ayala can do nothing but watch as the doctors try to save his Aunt Linda’s life.

Back at the mansion Catwoman battles her way through a horde of party guest that Raina Creel has zombified. Catwoman is able to use her skills and the fact the horde don’t have any control to knock them all out.

Eventually Catwoman gets to where Raina Creel is at and orders her to hand over the Lazarus Water or else she will claw her eyes out. Raina quickly declines and sends the zombie versions of Dr. Finick and Detective Sam Yilmaz after Catwoman. 

Catwoman quickly knocks Dr. Finick out. Zombie Sam gives Catwoman a bit of a tougher fight. Eventually she is able to knock zombie Sam against a pillar and then drives a wood stake through his stomach.

With no one left to defend her Raina desperately tries to charge at Catwoman. Catwoman is quick to toss her to the ground.

Catwoman then goes on to give her origin story of how she used to globetrot around the world stealing stuff. Selina would eventually come across a woman who had such joy in her face when she received a jewel as a gift. It was then Selina started to realize that something was missing that nothing she could steal would give her. 

Catwoman #21 Selina Kyle vs Raina Creel
Raina Creel desperately charges at Selina Kyle in Catwoman #21. Click for full-page view.

That realization led her to attempt to steal the old woman’s jewel. Before she went through with stealing the jewel Selina saw her reflection in a mirror and made her think of everything about her younger days. She ends her story by revealing that she did not steal the jewel. Instead Selina would go on to adopt the Catwoman identity so she could change her life direction.

As Catwoman ends her story Adam Creel appears out of nowhere. Adam immediately kills his mother, Raina, and tells Catwoman he made things right by doing so.

Back at the hospital as the doctors are about to tell Carlos they couldn’t help his aunt they all hear a commotion coming from the hospital room. Carlos and the doctors rush in and are shocked to see Aunt Linda alive and full of energy.

Carlos notices something on a nearby table that turns out to be the Lazarus Water and a note from Selina. In the note Selina says she couldn’t bring herself to say goodbye to Carlos in person. She goes on to ask Carlos to look after Linda and the city.

On a highway Selina and Maggie Kyle, who looks to be fully responsive now, happily make the drive back to Gotham City together. End of issue.

The Good: Catwoman #21 delivered the action packed ending that I was hoping for. In the process Joelle Jones was able to provide the payoff to the Catwoman vs Raina Creel storyline that she has built since starting this new series. In doing so Jones is able to leave a strong mark on Catwoman.

Catwoman #21 Selina Kyle History
Selina Kyle remembers her past in Catwoman #21. Click for full-page view.

The big thing that stood out in Catwoman #21 compared to recent issues was the confidence that Selina Kyle had. For the first time in a while Selina Kyle looked in control of what she was doing. There was no more reacting in the last minute as she was unprepared for whatever Raina Creel was planning. Selina as Catwoman was ready for what was going on and never doubted her ability to defeat whatever horde Raina threw at her.

That was best shown when Catwoman finally confronted Raina after defeating the horde in the mansion. Catwoman did not blink an eye when it came to quickly knocking out Dr. Finick when he attacked her. And even when she struggled against Sam Yilmaz she never lost control of the fight.

The control that Catwoman showed throughout this issue made the fact that Raina Creel has a complete break down even more impactful. Once Raina saw what Catwoman could do with her own eyes you could see that she became completely desperate. That desperation Raina showed was exactly the payoff you would hope for her villainous character arc. Jones did a great job making this come across as the defeat Raina deserved at Catwoman’s hand.

Selina revealing her origin to Raina was also a nice addition to how things ended. Ever since Selina arrived in Villa Hermosa she has had great unease. There are a lot of things about her past that haunt her, including why the original wedding with Bruce Wayne failed. Giving the story of what made her decide to become Catwoman spoke to that weight has been with her since she was extremely young. It all added to the strength of Selina’s character that even when that weight has become too much she has found a way to pull through, as she did in this battle against Raina Creel.

Catwoman #21 Selina And Maggie Kyle
Selina and Maggie Kyle make their way back to Gotham City in Catwoman #21. Click for full-page view.

Adam Creel, Raina’s son, being the one to finish his mother off was also an appropriate way to conclude the villain’s story. More so than Catwoman, Adam has suffered greatly with how his mother has treated him as a son. Adam having enough of his senses to feel that killing his mother was what needed to be done was a dark note that Raina Creel created for herself.

Catwoman #21 concluding with Selina and Maggie Kyle driving back to Gotham City was a satisfying way for Jones to conclude her story. At the core of Jones run it was a story of Selina trying to help Maggie regain who she was before the traumatizing experience she went through because of Selina’s Catwoman life. These two deserve a happy ending. Now with Maggie regaining control over herself Jones opens the door for future Catwoman creative teams to explore the dynamic between the two as sisters.

Fernando Blanco delivered solid artwork throughout Catwoman #21. With Catwoman #21 being more action heavy compared to other recent issues Blanco was able to show his strong grasp for action choreography. With Catwoman fighting style focused on her agility Blanco made the action flow with how she how each move went into the next. 

The Bad: The one spot in how Jones wraps things up in Catwoman #21 does not hit the way it should is the plot around the Lazarus Water. While Selina leaves Carlos the Lazarus Water to possibly solve the crisis Raina created there isn’t much indication that it will be used that way. Carlos hasn’t built the authority or skill to be able to help Villa Hermosa recover from how Raina has left it. This means Selina leaves Villa Hermosa in a state that may be worse than it was in since we don’t know if the zombie crisis Raina created was solved. This is where it would’ve made the ending stronger if Selina left instructions for Carlos on how he can lead Villa Hermosa recover from what just happened. 

Catwoman #21 Adam Creel Kills
Catwoman surprised by Adam Creel killing his mother, Raina Creel, in Catwoman #21. Click for full-page view.

Overall: Joelle Jones wrapped up her run on Catwoman that leaves a strong mark on Selina Kyle’s history. The war between Catwoman and Raina Creel ended in a way that left Selina a stronger character than when this series started. The ending creates plenty of opportunity for the next creative team to use what Jones built as a strong foundation for Catwoman’s future.

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